Excision (2012)


A fantastic achievement in understanding the makings of the psychotically sexual and delusional. Excision does away with the genre’s mishaps and stereotypes to bring an honest, frightening reality to the big screen. Despite its ambitious, yet ambiguous ending that will certainly frustrate many. Excision is utterly consistent in its approach and never diverges from its path, even if at times it may be too much for the viewer to handle. Excision is without a doubt not for the squeamish or sexually shy. Flipping between violently vivid, sexual dream sequences and the hauntingly fearless reality of the twisted mind we’ve been invited to study. Excision captures its warped entity unflinchingly. Featuring an unrecognizable AnnaLynne McCord in the lead role, who is supported by Ariel Winter and Traci Lords. Excision, directed by Richard Bates Jr, is a darkly comic and visually sadistic horror that is sure to leave you feeling dismembered.


Pauline (McCord) is 18 years of age and lives with her family. Her younger sister Grace (Winter) suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. Pauline has extensive delusions and considers herself to be a great surgeon. When she sleeps, Pauline has vivid dreams that she obtains sexual stimulation from. These dreams are violently and horrifically sexual. Pauline’s classmates find her annoying and weird. She tends to act out at home and school and suffers the consequences of her misbehaviour. All along, Pauline is concocting a plan that will leave many baffled and some clinging to life.


Of course, this goes without saying, Excision’s unsympathetic butchery and bloodshed is unyielding. However, the effectiveness of Excision’s horror stems from the insanity in McCord’s portrayal of Pauline, not the carnage. She is absolutely nerve shredding. Her upfront personality is distracting and uncomfortable, she cannot distinguish appropriateness, and her social misconceptions are possibly sociopathic as they border intentional. However, as these attributes could easily be distinguished as symptoms of someone struggling with anxiety for example. It is Pauline’s ravenous fascination with disembowelment and hematolagnia (sexual arousal by blood) that define the beast. All of her unusual characteristics and emotionless insanity will leave you unsettled, dirty, as if there is sludge pumping through your veins.


McCord’s facial expressions and emotions look and feel fabricated. I suppose that is the most terrifying thing about the mentally unstable, they appear remorseless. As if every detail in their existence is forced and forged. McCord’s captures these facets menacingly. The sense of helplessness and inevitability that drives her forward dwells in her eyes. One of the best performances I’ve seen in a horror film. Bates does a superlative job behind the camera. Tricky overhead shots that, for most, don’t pan out the way they are envisioned, Bates doesn’t falter. Lords is extremely fierce and formidable in the role of Pauline’s mother. As she argues with her own personal demons, Lords desperately tries to control Pauline and keep her other daughter alive. Lords tried valiantly to match the performance of McCord, but falls inches short.


Excision, despite its rather abrupt ending, is upsetting, outstanding, and monstrous. Its consistent performances, gallons of gore, and heart wrenching core make Excision a must see for horror fans.

Excision: 8 out of 10.

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Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on April 14, 2013, in Horror and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. We loved this movie. Particularly the use of head shots and first-person. It really developed the story. It stems from a short he did that won recognition on the festival circuit apparently. Awesome feature debut.

  2. I’ve been meaning to see this one for a while, I’ll be getting around to it very soon after reading this review though. Great stuff man and your site looks much better than mine did when I first started haha.

  3. Hard to stomach but very good film. Especially the end.

  4. I have been aiming to see this for a while but I just have not gotten around to it. I am definitely more excited now after reading this.

  5. great review! this looks like a ‘must watch’ :)

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